Sustainable development in Germany - 17 Goals to Transform our World

Land use – Using land sustainably

Indicator 11.1.b: Loss of open space area

SDG-11.3.1
(Evaluation of the development of Germany in the reporting year 2018 as reporting year from indicator report 2021)

Selection

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This overview includes additional information on the indicators presented above, such as a brief definition of the indicator and a description of the politically determined target value, as well as the political intention for selecting the indicator.

Definition of indicators (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

The indicator represents the annual change in open space area in square metres per capita as a four-year moving average.

Target and intention of the German Government (Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy)

Open spaces should be preserved for use as agricultural land, woodland, cultural and natural landscapes, and recreational areas. The intention is therefore to curb the decline in open space area per capita. A reduction in the loss of open space area points to the success of measures to strengthen brownfield development with a view to saving agricultural land, woodland and water systems for farming, forestry, nature conservation and recreational use by the public.

Data state

The data published in the indicator report 2021 is as of 31.12.2020. The data shown on the DNS-Online-Platform is updated regularly, so that more current data may be available online than published in the indicator report 2021.

Last modification of code (data) 2021-02-25: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window
Last modification of code (text) 2021-09-10: see changes on GitHub opens in a new window

Taken from the official translation of the German Sustainable Development Strategy

Open space area includes areas of vegetation, such as arable land, pasture and woodland, as well as mining land and bodies of water. A distinction is made between open space proper and open areas within settlement zones, such as cemeteries, gardens, parks and recreational amenities, which, although largely undeveloped, are generally considered part of settlement and transport area. As a result, if previously undeveloped parts of settlement land are built on, this is not reflected in the indicator for loss of open space area.

In the period under review, the national average for per capita loss of open space area went down. Whereas the four-year moving average for 2001-2004 was still around 5 m2 per capita, the current average for 2015-2018 reveals a figure of just 3 m2.

Although subject to a similar trend, significant differences can be observed between rural and non-rural areas in terms of the degree of change. The loss of per capita open space area per inhabitant in rural areas contracted from 7.4 to 4.5 m2 per year In non-rural areas, it fell from 1.8 m2 to 0.6 m2. In this context, it important to remember that non-rural districts and district-free cities have much less open space, such as forest or farmland, than rural areas do. Demographic trends also differ, and the indicator reflects those disparities, with rural areas mostly seeing their populations shrink during the period under review, while population numbers in non-rural areas rose slightly overall.

The data sources for the indicator are the population figures and the area survey by type of actual use compiled by the Federal Statistical Office. Since population data at regional level are used for the associated calculations, the 2011 census caused a jump in the time series. Moreover, some areas of land have been reclassified in the official land register maintained by the Länder in recent years, without any actual change to the landscape. To smooth out these effects and depict the long-term trend, a four-year moving average is shown, averaging out the figures for each year with those for the three preceding years. Additionally, the switch from the old to the new land-use classification system was completed in 2016, which affected the official land-use statistics such that the data for 2016 are not directly comparable to those for previous years. This is why the development of the indicator for 2016 is only shown as a broken outline in the graph.

The distinction between rural and non-rural is based on a classification used by the Thünen Institute. The institute ascribes a degree of rurality to districts and district-free cities on the basis of geographical characteristics such as settlement density and share of farmland and woodland. The classification is thus applied to whole districts rather than to smaller entities like towns or villages.

This summary table illustrates the evaluations of the indicator by status of previous years. This shows whether the weather symbol for an indicator has been stable or rather volatile in the past years. (Evaluations from the indicator report 2021)

Indicator

11.1.b Loss of open space area

Target

Reduce the loss of per capita open space area

Year

2015

2016

2017

2018

Evaluation Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich Keine Bewertung möglich

Source 1

 Federal Statistical Office

Organisation

Federal Statistical Office

Source 2

 Federal Office for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development

Organisation

Federal Office for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development

Source 3

 Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute

Organisation

Johann Heinrich von Thünen Institute